I frequently hear of lawyers telling potential clients that their case is a “slam dunk” in the intial interview. Personal injury victims have informed me of potential attorneys that can place a value on their injuries before the attorneys have even reviewed medical records. Prospective clients should be wary of lawyers who promise too much in the first interview. Lawyers cannot predict the future. If a lawyer has the telepathic ability to guarantee your outcome, and you are absolutely cetain that he is not lying to you, then hire that lawyer. In fact, if he has psychic power, you should also ask him to select your next investment.
In truth, a lawyer meeting you for the first time, cannot accurately tell you the outcome of your case. There are literally hundreds of variables that will effect your case, many of which cannot possibly be determined in the initial meeting. For example, what kind of witness will you be? You may be perfectly charming in the intial interview, yet fall apart under the pressure of prolonged litigation. How strong a witness will your opponent be? Has the attorney reviewed all of the material documents in your case? I’ve had very few cases, in my twenty one years of legal practice, in which the potential client brought all material documents to the initial interview. Yet, without reviewing all of the material documents, it is virtually impossible to predict the outcome of a commercial case. If it is a personal injury matter, what do the medical reports say about the victim’s injuries? It is impossible to accurately value a personal injury claim without reviewing the extent of the physical injuries, as confirmed in those reports.
If your potential attorney makes elaborate promises about the outcome of your case in your initial interview, you should become very concerned. An experienced, honest attorney will admit that there is no guarantee in our imperfect legal system. When selecting an attorney, see who gives you straight advice. You wouldn’t trust a doctor who told you that smoking was good for your lungs. Don’t shop for the lawyer who is most willing to tell you what you want to hear.